The Events and Entertainment Insider: Help Attendees “De-Stress” by Expressing Themselves


The right speakers can help your people step away from the stresses of the business day and feel uplifted and inspired. Here are two great choices who do just that by encouraging your attendees to express themselves. Our clients were thrilled.

1. Robert Fogarty of the “Dear World” Project

If you could send one message to the world, what would it be? That’s the question “Dear World”
founder and photographer Robert Fogarty asks his audiences. What started out as Fogarty photographing “love notes” to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina has grown into a business/art project/social experiment. “I realized people lost a lot of things, but they never lost their voices,” he says.

In addition to being a keynote speaker Robert Fogarty also brings his “Dear World” project to the corporate world where the same philosophy applies. A room full of attendees each choose some important message they want written on their fingers, hands, arms, forearms, or faces that conveys who they are and what’s important to them. They become a human canvas, a living billboard that speaks volumes without them uttering a word.

Among the things people have written: Inner Beauty Shines, Wash Away the Insecurities, Be Kind to Yourself, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work, No Regrets, You Are Not Alone, Be the Change, Fearless, See the Good in the World, Inclusion.

Individual photographs are taken of your attendees and their messages. During the convention, the photos are displayed on what becomes a wall of humanity for everyone to see and talk about. This experience builds a meaningful connection between people, and leaves a lasting memory.

2. Candy Chang of the “Before I Die” Walls

We all lose things that are important to us—people we love, our mojo, our inspiration, our drive, clarity, our purpose. Social artist Candy Chang turned her loss of someone dear into something positive. She wanted a daily reminder of what was important in life. With help from friends, she painted the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid of the sentence, “Before I die I want to ________________.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in a public space.

It was an experiment and Candy didn’t know what to expect. The next day the wall was completely filled out and it kept growing. Among the ways people completed the sentence: …abandon all insecurities, follow my childhood dream, hug a Sequoia, straddle the International Date Line, see my daughter graduate, be completely myself, hold her one more time, live off the grid, be someone’s cavalry, be the one she believes I am, experience unconditional love, buy a boat, write a novel, make the world a better place.

There are now 400 walls in public spaces in more than 60 countries and more than 25 languages. Candy Chang will inspire your audience, and you can create your own “Before I Die” wall at your next meeting. See what happens when people are encouraged to open up and share their hopes and dreams. Photographs can be taken of people next to their words, and the photos can be posted for all to see and talk about. The “Before I Die” wall can occupy a place of honor back at your corporate headquarters and become a part of the corporate culture. As Candy says, “Our shared spaces can better reflect what matters to us as individuals and as a community. With more ways to share our hopes, fears, and stories, the people around us can not only help us make better places, they can help us lead better lives.”

Ask us! E-mail your entertainment questions anytime:

Jaki Baskow has been CEO and owner of the full-service destination management company Baskow & Associates in Las Vegas since 1976.

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